Crystal Dawn is half plains Cree from Saskatchewan and half Jamaican. She was born in Toronto and grew up in foster care within the Catholic Aid’s society. She was apprehended 27 times from birth until the age of 3 then put into permanent foster care. She was adopted at the age of 4 and half. She grew up with her adoptive family in the Ottawa Valley.
Although she grew up in a loving secure home she struggled with her identity. She was bullied as a youth, experienced isolation and a disconnect from her community, struggling with a low self-esteem. She reconnected with her Indigenous community in the greater Kitchener Waterloo Region while in her first year of college ten years ago and has since been on a quest to recover and reclaim her identity as a First Nations woman, a woman of colour with a rich intercultural identity.
As an Indigenous woman who has both professional and lived experience growing up in foster care and being adopted she has worked her way through barriers and as a result has gained a bachelor’s degree in counselling studies, two diplomas in social work and over 10 years in front line social services work and dedicating the last five years of her career to her urban Indigenous youth community.
Her focus has been to coach, mentor, and empower her clients to acquire the necessary life skills to move forward with their lives, using strength based approaches while providing on-going advocacy, community outreach and related cultural initiatives and opportunities for urban indigenous youth and their families to thrive. She believes in order to move forward with Truth and Reconciliation, as a community we must build strong community collaborations so all people no matter where they are at on their journey feel connected and loved in the spaces they call home.